Look up the word “ubiquitous” in the dictionary, and you very well may see a picture of a Toyota Camry. Having been on sale in the U.S. as a replacement for the too-small-to-succeed Toyota Corona, the Camry has racked up an impressive 10 million sales in the U.S. since 1983, and is now sold globally.
The Camry had come to the U.S. when Japanese cars were expanding on the reliable-but-cheap reputation built up in the 70s. It was originally built in Toyota’s Aichi, Japan, plant in its first generation. After that, most of the production for the U.S. was moved to Georgetown, Kentucky, where it remains today, along with using space in Subaru’s Indiana plant. In its first year, Toyota sold 52,651 Camrys in the U.S. The company says 773 of that original batch of 1983 cars are still on the road 30 years later; future classics, maybe? Of the 10 million sold, Toyota claims 6.4 million remain. Considering accident rates, that’s a fairly good number.
Today, the 2013 Camry is among the most “American” cars on the road, with its 75 percent of its parts sourced from North America. Through seven generations, the Toyota Camry has become the most popular car in the U.S., annually amassing sales numbers upwards of 350,000 per year. The sedan has proven a stalwart in a time when nameplates like “Malibu,” “Taurus,” and other family cars have come and go, always refining its attributes to meet the needs of consumers.
While the automotive press may deride it for its bland styling and uninspired performance, the Camry has found a role that resonates with what American shoppers want. As such, it has become an American icon, despite being from a Japanese brand, because of its reliability and ease of use. And while it’s just crossing the 10 million sales mark here, it has been around in the Middle East, Asia, Australia, and off and on in Europe for nearly as long, helping it rack up huge numbers. We’re betting the 20 million mark worldwide will be coming soon enough if it hasn’t happened already.